Student: ‘Why I’m traveling across the country to March for Our Lives’

Esmeralda Cortez Morales

(Photo by Getty images)

“My name is Esmeralda Cortez Rosales. I’m 21, and a student at UC Berkeley. Four years ago, when I was applying to colleges, the personal statement on my applications began like this:

“The beat of his heart went into silence, but his mother’s heart broke into screams. The only place where she’ll see her son is in her dreams. She falls to her knees begging for someone to tell her that it’s a lie. That it isn’t her son that’s being buried. She wants to squeeze her son for the last time.

“I was in 5th grade when my brother, Hernan Cortez, was shot a few blocks from my house and steps away from the East Oakland high school I later graduated from. He was only 18 when he died.”

So opens Esmeralda Cortez Rosales’s story in Cosmopolitan magazine, published as she makes her way to Washington, D.C., for tomorrow’s student-led march for gun control, sparked by the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. A big turnout is expected, generated by the outrage and political savvy of surviving students and their many supporters, and their ongoing campaign for laws to prevent more mass shootings. 

The magazine says she’ll be updating her story throughout the weekend. 

Read more of Esmeralda's story